Art and tourism have 'New Beginnings' in Kingston

Monday, April 08, 2019

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AT a time when the Government is seeking to increase the tourism offerings of Kingston, world-renowned visual artist Professor Bryan McFarlane makes his contribution through an exhibition titled 'New Beginnings'.

The exhibition is being hosted by hotelier Evan Williams as part of a launch of the Gene Pearson Gallery, located at the R-Hotel and named in honour of master sculptor, ceramist, and teacher Gene Pearson who passed away a year ago. The R-Hotel, located on Renfrew Road in New Kingston, is operated by businessman and award-winning architect Evan Williams.

Poised to to form part of the facelift of the business hub, the exhibition breathes fresh perspective on Kingston at this time of the city's development. Art lovers have another week to view the month-long exhibition, which ends on April 13 with a ceremony to be addressed by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Williams explained that Professor McFarlane was chosen because “it was important to have an artist with international exposure, and Bryan is well known and exposed around the world”.

Williams described the works as “brilliant… reflecting the influences of McFarlane's travels to Beijing, China and other countries”.

Entering the gallery from right to left, one can see the calculated placements of the 13 pieces by curator Dr Jonathon Greenland in embracing his ambition for visual arts tourism in Jamaica's capital. The flow of the exhibition is done through reorganising fragments of McFarlane's series along with one or two other pieces. Yet, together they blend to bring you into a new way of thinking and can be summarised through the 'Like the Weather' series (2019).

They also reflect how the artist has tapped into his past to face the future.

McFarlane is at a new dawn, but he is not in square one. A descendant of Maroons, McFarlane is a seasoned global traveller who portrays transatlantic slavery and colonialism. He captures holocaust, warfare, and other periods of turmoil common to mankind; then works out the effects on humanity before escorting viewers to overcoming challenges to glide across rainbows.

McFarlane's use of colour hints at similarities of the Fauvism movement and French masters such as Matisse. Across the room, energies are felt exuding from the pieces as the painter moves from grey to vibrant tones and gesticulates through embodied shapes and lines.

The 2016 oil-on-linen work, Silk Road Entanglement is, therefore, critical to the exhibition here, and pulls you into the idea of trade, even simulated trade. There is a hint of a woman being seductive as she spins a vibrant bundle of coloured thread into the slight shape of an organic vessel, perhaps symbolic of the ease with which one can get caught up in a discussion to end in profitable business deals.

McFarlane, who has lectured as a visiting artist at universities and museums across continents, has done well to nest his creative pieces in the newest business hotel in Kingston, for local and international art lovers to muse.


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